Planning with EssentialQuestionsImagine Prep at SurpriseJohn Buzzard
What is an essential question?A question is essential when it: ▫ causes genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas and core content; ▫ provokes deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions; Source: Wiggins, Grant “What is an essential Question” www.authenticlearning.org/big ideas/index.lasso Nov 15, 2007
What is an essential question (2) A question is essential when it: ▫ requires students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers; ▫ stimulates vital, on-going rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons; Source: Wiggins, Grant “What is an essential Question” www.authenticlearning.org/big ideas/index.lasso Nov 15, 2007
Essential Questions• What is one?• What isn’t one?• How do they guide inquiry and learning?• How do they lead to projects and exhibitions?• How do I use essential questions to plan my class?• How do I help students understand and work with essential questions?
What is an essential question (3)A question is essential when it: ▫ sparks meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences; ▫ naturally recurs, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects Source: Wiggins, Grant “What is an essential Question” www.authenticlearning.org/big ideas/index.lasso Nov 15, 2007
So what does that mean…?• An essential question guides students to ask their own questions, to question deeper elements of a topic or concept, and to create their own understanding of the world.• For example, let’s take a look at the essential question: “
Defining an essential questionSome qualities of this question:• It is clear and brief.• It does not have a simple answer.• It demands further research and inquiry.• Two people could give very strong answers without agreeing on their answers at all.• It is not a topic in disguise – it is an engaging direction for learning.
Topic vs Essential QuestionTopics are: Essential Questions are:• Noun - focused • Focused on comparisions • Interdisciplinary• Located within one subject. • Big picture• Dull and vague • Engaging • Student -centeredExamples:• World War II Aircraft Examples: • What WW II era plane had the• Haikus greatest effect on warfare?• Meiosis and Mitosis • How can fewer words communicate more? • What is the most effective kind of reproduction in the animal world and why?
Don’t just translate a topic• Often standards are presented • Instead, create questions that as chunks of knowledge to be you would be interested in learned. Avoid simply discussing or researching. assigning a topic by turning it into a question – i.e. don’t use essential questions like: • What World War II innovation• Why is World War II has had the greatest effect on important? your life?• What are the main steps to doing scientific research?
Get more information• http://www.edutopia.org/teaching-module-pbl- how• General information• http://www.edutopia.org/teaching-module-pbl- resources#pbl_ppt• (read through the power point and engage in some of the activities.)